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Following Tuesday’s House passage of an unbalanced two-year state budget bill, the Kasich Administration today released the latest tax revenues for the current fiscal year, showing Ohio’s stumbling economy resulted in a nearly $160 million shortfall for April 2017 alone.

Ohio’s fiscal shortfall during the course of one year now climbs to negative $1.057 billion under GOP leadership. Today’s revenue returns suggest a serious financial problem for the state now, even before the upcoming state budget is finalized in June.

“Ohioans are looking to their elected leaders in Columbus to confront the greatest challenges facing our state – the opioid addiction crisis claiming thousands of lives each year, an unconstitutional funding model for our public schools, rising infant mortality and falling wages – but the state cannot afford to make meaningful progress to grow the middle class after years of tax-shifting have blown a hole in our fiscal future,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton).

 
 
After six years of GOP tax-shifting, Ohio's broken economy brings GOP promise of $800M in cuts
May 2, 2017

Before new state economic indicators come out Thursday, the Ohio House today passed a version of the state’s two-year budget, House Bill (HB) 49, that remains hundreds of millions of dollars out of balance, if not more. The vote comes a little more than two weeks after Gov. Kasich and GOP legislative leaders announced they would need to cut close to $1 billion from the bill to maintain a stable, balanced budget. Still, the final version of House Bill 49 approved largely along party lines today fell over $400 million short of being a balanced budget bill by that standard. 

“The inability to adequately invest in Ohio’s future due to vanishing revenues is a direct result of six years of failed GOP economic policies that shifted taxes onto local communities and middle-class families,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “Republicans promised that tax cuts for the wealthy would deliver a thriving economy and vibrant communities, and yet Ohio has trailed the nation in job growth for fifty-one consecutive months, families bring home less income than the national average, and Ohio leads the nation in opioid overdose deaths. Just hitting the brakes on tax-shifting in this budget is not enough to stop Ohio from falling over the fiscal cliff. We need a real plan that reverses the failed economic policies of the past and focuses the future so the next generation of working people can have economic stability and a clear path to the middle class in our state.”

 
 

Ohio House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) and the Democratic lead on the House budget panel, state Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), today released the following joint response regarding the House changes to Gov. Kasich’s proposed two-year state operating budget, House Bill 49:

“With the House’s revised budget, we were able to press pause on six years of Republican tax shifting that forces the middle class and working people to pay more for giveaways to the top one-percent. Through public pressure and awareness, we were also able to get Republicans to bring more resources to the statewide fight against heroin and opioids. But the simple fact is, the state is in trouble today because of the GOP’s failed economic policies of the last six years."

 
 

State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) today announced the House Democratic screening panel tasked with finding a replacement for the 35th House district seat, previously held by Greta Johnson (D-Akron), has recommended Tavia Galonski to fill the remainder of Johnson’s term.

The panel recommended Galonski after interviewing eight applicants for the 35th House district seat.

“Among the many qualified applicants, Tavia’s leadership and experience make her the best possible representative for the thirty-fifth district,” said Cera. “We are confident constituents will have a real advocate for their future in Mrs. Galonski.”

 
 
Citizens, cities fear water contamination likely if last-minute law change stands
April 26, 2017
Lawmakers push colleagues to restore Ohio drinking water protection

State Reps. David Leland (D-Columbus) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) testified Tuesday during Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the Statehouse on House Bill 29, their legislation to prevent the destruction of natural buffer zones growing around municipally owned drinking-water reservoirs throughout Ohio.

The Columbus lawmakers’ legislation will repeal a provision surreptitiously included in the state’s last biennial budget that allowed residents to significantly alter those zones.

“This provision, which was inserted into the previous State Budget at the last minute without public input or participation, is a potential threat to the health and safety of residents throughout Ohio,” said Leland. “Our reservoirs are a vital source of public water for Columbus and other cities, and the strips of land encircling these reservoirs act as a natural filter that removes contaminants that would threaten our water supply. Given the drinking water issues Ohio has faced in the last couple of years, we should be doing more to protect our drinking water, not less."

“It is of the utmost importance to protect our water supply and ensure that it remains clean and safe for our community to drink." Boggs said. "It is simply bad policy to give a few people the power, without any oversight, to alter landscape in a way that could have a negative impact on our water quality."

 
 
Legislators, advocates and citizens gather for inspiration, reflection and advocacy
April 26, 2017

Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) President and state Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) joined fellow OLBC lawmakers Tuesday for the group’s annual Day of Action. The event provided an opportunity for Ohioans to interact with state legislators and discuss issues that affect their families, communities and everyday life. The theme this year, “Still History, Still Black: Championing the Causes of African-Americans in Ohio Year-Round,” focused on struggles that disproportionately affect the black community.

“Black history is more than one month,” said Howse. “The problems and triumphs black Ohioans experience are year-round. We must nurture and encourage more engagement between black people and their elected officials to make sure all Ohioans feel connected and empowered to advocate for their own interests. We also need lawmakers to be more aware of the obstacles we all experience as Ohioans but that disproportionately affect black families. Together we can make sure black Ohioans are stronger, because when black Ohioans are strong – our state is strong.”

 
 
Lawmakers, advocates and citizens gather for inspiration, reflection and advocacy
April 26, 2017

Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) President and state Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) joined fellow OLBC lawmakers Tuesday for the group’s annual Day of Action. The event provided an opportunity for Ohioans to interact with state legislators and discuss issues that affect their families, communities and everyday life. The theme this year, “Still History, Still Black: Championing the Causes of African-Americans in Ohio Year-Round,” focused on struggles that disproportionately affect the black community.

“Black history is more than one month,” said Howse. “The problems and triumphs black Ohioans experience are year-round. We must nurture and encourage more engagement between black people and their elected officials to make sure all Ohioans feel connected and empowered to advocate for their own interests. We also need lawmakers to be more aware of the obstacles we all experience as Ohioans but that disproportionately affect black families. Together we can make sure black Ohioans are stronger, because when black Ohioans are strong – our state is strong.”

 
 
House Dems respond to GOP's proposed budget cuts of close to $1 billion due to lagging economy, limited growth

The lead Democrat on the House budget panel State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) and Assistant Democratic Whip Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), also a budget committee member, issued the following statements in response to Ohio GOP leaders call for close to $1 billion in state budget cuts due to stagnant economic growth and opportunity in The Buckeye State after six years of unchecked Republican tax shifting and deep budget cuts:

“After six years of Ohio GOP policies that continue to shift taxes to working people and local communities to fund giveaways for the wealthiest one-percent, Ohio is now faced with a serious budget crisis, one that will force us all to pay the price for the failed economic policies of the past. We were promised that deep cuts to communities, deep cuts to schools, privatizing job creation and shifting taxes to give millionaires breaks would grow our economy and create jobs, but today’s announcement is proof Governor Kasich and other leaders have broken that promise.”

State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire)

“Now – after having it their way without compromise for six years has brought us to the ‘verge of recession’ – schools, communities, the opioid fight, healthcare for developmentally disabled people and children, and other essential services will be defunded because politicians in Columbus don’t have the courage to do what’s needed to recession-proof our state. Instead of shoring up self-made shortfalls with Rainy Day money that was essentially stolen from schools and communities, Ohio will likely continue on it’s terrible economic trajectory with fewer resources to fend off this deteriorating economy.” –State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron)

 
 
House Dems respond to GOP's proposed budget cuts of close to $1 billion due to slow economy, limited growth

The lead Democrat on the House budget panel State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) and Assistant Democratic Whip Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), also a budget committee member, issued the following statements in response to Ohio GOP leaders call for close to $1 billion in state budget cuts due to stagnant economic growth and opportunity in The Buckeye State:

“After six years of Ohio GOP policies that continue to shift taxes to working people and local communities to fund giveaways for the wealthiest one-percent, Ohio is now faced with a serious budget crisis, one that will force us all to pay the price for the failed economic policies of the past. We were promised deep cuts to communities, deep cuts to schools, privatizing job creation and shifting taxes to give millionaires breaks would grow our economy and create jobs, but today’s announcement is proof Governor Kasich and other leaders have broken that promise.”

State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire)

“Now – after having it their way without compromise for six years has brought us to the ‘verge of recession’ – schools, communities, the opioid fight, healthcare for developmentally disabled people and children, and other essential services will be defunded because politicians in Columbus don’t have the courage to do what’s needed to recession-proof our state. Instead of shoring up self-made shortfalls with Rainy Day money that was essentially stolen from schools and communities, Ohio will likely continue on it’s terrible economic trajectory with fewer resources to fend off this deteriorating economic outlook.” –State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron)

 
 
Say years of tax cuts for the wealthy threaten to push Ohio over fiscal cliff
April 11, 2017

As the Ohio House of Representatives enters the next stage in state budget deliberations, House Democratic leaders today warned that GOP economic policies are blowing a hole in the Ohio budget and threatening the economic stability of working people and families. 

“During the worst global economic recession since The Great Depression, Republican lawmakers called for the state budget director – at the time, a Democrat – to step down,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “In the governor’s own words, Ohio is now on ‘the verge of a recession’. However, we are not demanding pink slips be delivered today. Instead, we believe that state leaders must take steps to recession-proof the state by investing in communities and schools, rather than approving yet another round in tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.”